The best RV battery offers a powerful deep cycle electricity to power the “house” portion of the RV for lights, appliances, and more – and no battery does as good a job of that as the Optima 8016-103 D34M, a unique hybrid battery that’s suited for a variety of tasks.
With 750 cold cranking amps (take a look at our RV battery buying guide below to learn more about these terms), this Optima battery is ready for anything immediately, but also rated as a deep cycle battery – with a reserve capacity of 120 minutes – for reliable long-term power throughout the day. Compare it to our other picks to learn more and find the right RV battery for you!
Top 5 Best RV Battery
#1 Optima 8016-103 D34M RV Battery
Award: Top Pick
WHY WE LIKE IT: Optima’s hybrid battery offers an incredible 55AH rating and 750 cold cranking amps for great performance. It’s ideal for use in an RV, but can also switch to marine purposes if necessary.
Ordinarily, we wouldn’t recommend a marine battery for any RV purposes, as they are short-lived and designed primarily for starter activities, not as house batteries. But this house battery is an interesting exception: It’s a deep-cycle battery designed to function as an RV battery that also has excellent starter capabilities. This allows it to be used in both boats and RVS as needed.
The other big benefit to this versatile battery is its durability: It’s 15x more resistant to vibration than the average deep cycle battery to help prevent damage over its life. And while we don’t recommend using it as a starter battery, the 750 cold cranking amps rating means you won’t ever have to wait when it powers up your rig appliances. Speaking of cool RV toys, the best rv air conditioner will keep you cool in the summer.
#2 UPG 85980/D5772 RV Battery
Award: Best Budget
WHY WE LIKE IT: A solid universal battery with a 35 amp hour rating, suited for a wide variety of tasks. It will help make smaller RVs comfortable homes with very reliable power generation!
UPG is a particularly reliable brand for these kinds of batteries, and this highly affordable, 12-votl universal model is fit for a variety of tasks. It’s very simple design makes it easy to install and replace when necessary, easy for beginners to understand.
As it’s a universal battery, this UPG model can fit in all sorts of applications, making it the best choice for more versatile work. It’s only suitable for powering smaller RV rigs for shorter periods of time, but excellent for transferring over to a tiny cabin or fishing raft when you reach your destination. And don’t forget that the best rv solar panels can keep all of your gear juiced up.
#3 Odyssey PC680 RV Battery
Award: Best Quality
WHY WE LIKE IT: Its excellent design resists environmental damage and makes recharging a snap, while offering excellent cycle life. It’s a top choice for reliable RV power over the long haul.
This nimble battery offers a 70% longer cycle life compared to conventional deep cycle batteries, and can last for up to 400 cycles at 80% discharge and with great stability. It offers a reserve capacity of 24 minutes, 16 amp hours, and 170 cold cranking amps for solid performance that’s ideal for long-term RV use.
It’s the best deep cycle battery we’ve seen, but it also has a particularly excellent design to resist both vibration and extreme temperatures and keep on going. If something goes wrong, there’s a limited 2 year full replacement warranty. When you get back home, the excellent recharging capabilities will have the battery back at capacity in 4 to 6 hours. The Odyssey’s excellent performance due to its design, battery capacity, and other features makes it a great option to provide much power to your RV and further build your backup power system for your next trip. As far as comfort in your RV, the best rv mattress will give you a good night’s sleep.
#4 VMAX V35-857 RV Battery
Award: Best Durable
WHY WE LIKE IT: The military-grade plates inside this battery, along with the unique fiberglass mat design, ensures this battery will last a long time and recharge very reliably. This makes it a good choice for tougher tasks traveling in more extreme weather.
VMAX uses heavy duty lead tin alloys for this deep cycle battery, especially manufactured for strength, performance, and durability. It’s also one of the newer battery styles that uses an “absorbed glass matt” (AGM) substrate, which helps make recharging a bit more reliable and improves durability on its own – while minimizing maintenance tasks.
This deep cycle battery also sports a healthy 35 amp hours, and fast recharge time that will have you ready for the road in no time. If you want a battery built like a tank and as reliable as possible, this is an excellent choice! With a battery this reliable, you’re only missing the best trailer tires to be on the road for your next trip.
#5 UPG UB121000 RV Battery
Award: Best for Solar
WHY WE LIKE IT: It’s a well-designed battery with a 100 amp hour rating, designed to work with solar recharging to help save energy and recharge your house battery on the go. RVs with solar panels need a battery just like this!
The Universal ub121000-45978 deep cycle agm battery is specifically designed for solar charging, an excellent choice for long-haul RV rigs that are equipped with solar panels. You don’t have to worry about extra maintenance or steps with UPG’s great design, and the amazing 100 amp hours will ensure that it has enough power for the day. RV owners can rely on this great RV deep cycle battery to keep the engine going so that you can focus on enjoying your trip.
The design is maintenance free and spill proof, so you can easily mount it in a way that fits in well with your solar kit. With such a great amp hour rating, one good day of sun can last for a couple days without a charge (depending, of course, on what you power), which also makes this the best RV battery for boondocking. Make sure to also check out the WindyNation 100AH 12V AGM Deep Cycle Sealed Lead Acid Battery, which is another great and durable power source for your recreational vehicle or for hauling a travel trailer. Note that this battery’s intended to provide power for deep cycle applications, and it does not function exactly the same as a starting battery.
How We Decided
We began by narrowing down the best RV batteries based on the specs that were naturally the best in class. That meant looking for 12-volt deep cycle batteries that are designed for long-term work. Only these types of batteries have the durability and continuous power supply necessary for house RV work.
Then we looked at more variable features, like amp hours (AH) or reserve capacity. High amp hours – preferably above 20 – are a sign the battery is able to power more devices for a full day, and are a strong sign of battery quality. Reserve capacity says the same, but is measured in minutes at a certain amp output (we go into more depth on this below). This is also where we looked at how many hundreds of cycles batteries were rated for, and cold cranking amps, which is how many amps the battery can produce suddenly at a burst.
After this, we awarded points for extra features like innovative designs that make batteries easier to handle, or features that give batteries additional capabilities, like solar charging or hybrid marine batteries. Extra vibration resistant and temperature tolerance is also really nice to see on an RV battery.
Best RV Battery Buying Guide
The Most Important Features to Consider
- Amp Hours and Reserve Capacity
House batteries for RVs are typically rated by amp hours and reserve capacity – there are other specs, but these are two of the most important for comparison. Generally speaking, the more power the battery has, the better. Amp hours show many amps the battery can put out in a 20 hour period, and reserve capacity shows how many minutes the battery can support a 20-25 amp output before dropping below around 10.5 voltage. As you can see, these are two different ways of showing the same thing. As long as you understand the difference, either one can tell you a lot, but amp hours tend to be a more versatile – and therefore common – measurement.
- Deep Cycling
RV house batteries should be “deep cycle.” But what does that mean? It means the battery is designed to steadily provide a continuous source of energy for a long time, and do it repeatedly for years. Don’t look for any battery that’s not rated for deep cycling tasks. Also note that a deep cycle battery should be cycled down to at least 50 percent discharge (ideally, below 20%) before you recharge it. For those without experience in these batteries, it can be difficult how far down the battery has cycled. Keep track of your hours of operation. Many batteries do have warning lights that turn on to indicate battery charge, but these aren’t usually accurate unless the battery is already fully disconnected from your rig and has been allowed to rest for a while.
House batteries usually come in 6 or 12 volt sizes. Look for 12 volt batteries: This is what most RV rigs are designed for. Only unique small spaces are suitable for a 6 volt battery.
- Flooded vs. Valve Regulated vs. Gel Cells
There are several different house battery cell designs, and this is worth a closer look because it can quickly grow confusing when you are looking at battery specs.
- Flooded cells: These batteries use a traditional combination of lead, water and acid solutions. Some are sealed and not designed for DIY maintenance, while others have caps you can use to measure water and replenish liquids when necessary (this is also one way for the experienced to judge the power level of the battery.
- Valve Regulated Cells: These cells use a lead acid formula as well, but the liquid is regulated and the batteries are not designed for maintenance at all.
- Gel Cells: Gel batteries simply use a geal instead of water to suspend the electrolyte. These batteries tend to be more durable and tightly sealed, making them great for wet conditions. However, they can struggle with recharging over time and aren’t as good of a pick for RVs. An alternative form uses a fiberglass mat instead of a gel to help solve some of these problems, but this is a relatively new approach for the time being – although you will find one of them on our list!
RV Battery FAQs
What Kind of Battery Does an RV Use?
These batteries are called “house batteries” because they are designed to supply power to the living quarters of the RV - as opposed to “starter batteries” for the engine. A house battery needs to last for as long as possible, which means that they are “deep cycle” batteries (see our explanation above) designed just for this type of work.
How Long Do RV Batteries Last?
This can vary greatly based on the type of battery and how the battery is maintained. Our top picks include options that are known for lasting a long time. However, in general a good RV battery will last several years - about 5 to 7 years with proper maintenance. The big exception to this would be something like a marine battery (which we talk about more below), which would only last a couple of years, but brings alternative benefits to the table.
How Do I Choose an RV Battery?
Take a look at our top picks! There’s a lot to consider when it comes to RV batteries and their design, voltage, amp hours, and much more. If you don’t know much about RV batteries, it’s important to do some research before buying. Our guide and the features to watch for are great places to get started.
Are There Different Kinds of RV Batteries?
Yes and no. All RV house batteries are deep-cycle batteries designed to provide a continuous flow of power over a long period of time. However, within this category there are a few different types of batteries people can choose from. One of the biggest differences, which we discuss above, is whether the battery is flooded, valve regulated, or gel, which defines the substrate the battery uses internally to produce power.
Can I Use a Marine Battery for my RV?
Rarely. A marine battery is not technically a deep-cycle battery, which means it’s poorly suited to be a house battery for an RV. Marine batteries also charge more slowly, and are more vulnerable to damage from things like overcharging. However, they have good starting power (since they are designed to work as starter batteries for boats), and are very resistant to vibration damage. However, they’ll only last a couple of years at the most for an RV battery. If you really want a marine battery (perhaps you want to switch it between an RV and boat), we have included a hybrid version in our top picks.
How Do I Prepare an RV Battery for Storage?
Follow the specific instructions in your battery manual. The right steps will vary based on the type of battery you have. Traditionally, owners take out their batteries, test water levels and refill if necessary, charge up the battery, and then store it in a warm indoor location. You can also attach a maintainer designed to keep the battery charged while it waits, or check on the battery about once a month.
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